Late last year, Alfa Romeo signed on as the title sponsor for Sauber F1 Team beginning in 2018, which will mark the brand’s return to Formula 1 after a 32-year absence. But F1 may not be the only open-wheel series where you can see the Alfa Romeo cross and serpent logo. Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has confirmed his interest in IndyCar.
“Why not Alfa Romeo in IndyCar? We are thinking about it,” he told Motorsport.com in an interview at the Detroit auto show.
Further evidence could be that IndyCar president of competition and operations Jay Frye confirmed that IndyCar had met with around 10 OEM brands over the past several months about possible participation in the series. He would not confirm whether FCA was one of the companies involved in the talks, however.
In Detroit, the Verizon IndyCar Series unveiled its universal aero kit, a versatile racing package that will be suitable for road courses, street courses, and ovals. The kit is built around the Dallara IR-12 chassis, and includes specially developed aero bodywork for each type of race. The new car will race beginning with the 2018 season, and has already received praise for looking better than the race car it replaces.
In Detroit, Marchionne expressed his admiration for Dallara’s founder. “Gian Paolo Dallara–I consider him a great, the best Italian engineer around,” he told Motorsport.com. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s committing to an IndyCar bid, but he’s clearly a fan of the firm behind the series’ new hardware.
Every team will run the new Dallara chassis, but they’ll have some choice when it comes to engines. Currently, the rules specify a naturally aspirated 2.2-liter DOHC V-6. There are only two OEM suppliers, Honda and Chevrolet, and both have expressed interest in more manufacturer competition. Will Alfa join the IndyCar party? We’ll have to wait and see.